Friday, 11 July 2014

Starter Set Sandbox 0 - Introduction & Table of Contents (updated 10Jan15)

Regional Map
The Starter Set for the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons has been released in some parts of the USA and Canada and reviews and commentary have begun to appear. I've even just read on ENWorld that the Starter Set is number 8 on the Amazon bestseller list today. Amazing.

I'm not interested in the new edition of D&D, or even in the new edition of the Realms, and plan to keep running 4E (or 13th Age) for the foreseeable future. However, I am interested in the Starter Set because the new adventure is set in the area south and east of Neverwinter and I have been a hopeless Neverwinter fan since I bought the Neverwinter Campaign Setting nearly three years ago. I'm also a huge fan of Rich Baker and his adventures. WotC made the right choice ensuring that the first adventure for the new edition was not written by the clowns who caused 4E to be stillborn by writing both Keep on the Shadowfell and Pyramid of Shadows, but I digress....

And even thought I am not interested in 5E, I don't want to simply crap on the new edition or troll its fans. What I have decided to do instead is try and make a positive contribution by expanding the sandbox possibilities by offering both canon and custom Realmslore on the areas shown on the regional map that comes with the Starter Set. Unfortunately, I do not have the Starter Set yet so some of my posts may overlap or contradict what is contained therein. But that's OK: options are always good.

So here's my table of contents based on locations shown on the regional map above:
I will try and ensure that my subsequent posts in this series clearly identify what material is canon and what is not. (Later edit: This is done by specifically calling out the Realmslore first.)


  1. Hi Scrivener of Doom, first of all thank you for you astonishing work on the Starter Set adventure of DnD5. It's a real blessing!

    I found every entry so far super intresting and as a DM relatively new to the hobby - playing tabletop RPGs since 2000 but never being able to master the "role of all roles" - this blog is like a goldmine to me. In my small DM experience I had a feeling that the adventure in Phandalin/Phandelver coul be far more interesting than the railroad written in the Starter Set Adventure Book, but I was lacking the knowledge about the lore of the Realms to achieve the transformation from a straitghtforward adventure to a sandbox one. Your hints and ideas are really welcome!

    As far as I can get your knowledge about the Realmlore is far bigger than mine, and even if in the last six months I've tried to read something about the Faerun on the Realms Wiki still I feel the need of some organized book/setting manual to fill the gap between no knowledge at all to a point where I can run my version of the Realms in a decent way.

    All this to ask, is there a right way to approach the Realm setting? Where do I start and what do I absolutely need to read? I'm open to any kind of advice - and thanks in advance!

  2. Hi +Sphenoeides, firstly, I want to thank you for your kinds words. I'm pleased you're getting some use out of these posts. I still have a few to make but I am waiting for my own game to restart before I do too much more.

    As for "mastering" the Realms, I suppose the best place to start is either the 2E or 3E campaign settings. From there, it's just a matter of finding an area you like and then working through the books on that area. Neverwinter, of course, is part of The North so that means reading FR5 The Savage Frontier, Volo's Guide to the North, and The North boxed set. From there I would recommend reading the relevant entries in the "god trilogy" of Faiths & Avatars, Demihuman Deities, and Power & Pantheons which should provide you with a wealth of ideas for campaigns and adventures to run as well as filling you in on some of the big picture history.

    Personally, besides the "god trilogy" I think Lost Empires of Faerûn is a must-read regardless of where you are interested in running your games.

    So, in short, pick an area and go from there.If you need any suggestions based on specific interests you have, feel free to comment here, email me, or PM me at ENWorld or


  3. These have been brilliant. I go back and read these on a regular basis. I was very disappointed to learn that the last entry on this blog was from 2017.

  4. How is FR: Champions of Ruin as a source of inspiration?

  5. I really appreciate this research. I am expanding on the LMoP and starting with Old Owl Well I found such a rich history to expand on the basic box set. Thanks for the information.

    What would your interpretation of Wave Echo Cave is tapping on the ancient remnants of Haunghdannar?
    Would the chardalyns found below Old Owl Well also be part of that vein the mad dwarves discovered and maybe a source to the Soulforge found in Wave Echo Cave?